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Wicked widows, crazy spinsters, and competent heroines : the single woman in sentimental fiction

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Wicked widows, crazy spinsters, and competent heroines : the single woman in sentimental fiction

Gaetz, Lynne (2000) Wicked widows, crazy spinsters, and competent heroines : the single woman in sentimental fiction. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Since the 1970s, a number of critics have given critical attention to sentimental fiction. In 1977 and 1985 respectively, Ann Douglas and Jane Tompkins set the terms for almost all subsequent arguments about antebellum female authors. What critics have not done is given particular attention to the models of single women that appear in sentimental fiction. This study aims to examine such models: the aggressive, evil mother-surrogate, the eccentric fool, and the innocent girl who grows up to be an independent single woman. The evil single woman who torments the heroine and the eccentric spinster appear in such traditional sentimental novels Catharine Maria Sedgwick's A New England Tale , Susan Warner's The Wide, Wide World and Maria Susanna Cummins' The Lamplighter . Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall , Harriet Wilson's Our Nig and Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl borrow narrative strategies from the sentimental genre, but they also subvert that genre by redefining and radicalizing the virtuous heroine. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Gaetz, Lynne
Pagination:iv, 94 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:English
Date:2000
Thesis Supervisor(s):Nixon, Nicola
ID Code:1270
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:18
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:19
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